20/11/2011 The Politics Show London


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This week on the Politics Show: How to solve the euro-zone crisis?


The Prime Minister has been in European capitals promoting his


"big bazooka" approach, but is it time we turned our back on a union


that threatens our independence and prosperity?


Over 1 million young unemployed and the economy flatlining - we will be


asking the government's growth tsar Lord Heseltine how to kick-start


the economy. First the row over lax controls at


our borders, now big questions about whether the Government will


be able to keep its promises on reducing immigration. It was a


positive issue that we campaigned on at the general election, and not


to deliver on that pledge would be a serious issue politically.


In London, our local authorities using too many consultants? Half of


Londoners cannot tell us how many work for them, nor what they do.


And should police be given new powers to remove offensive gang


With me throughout the programme are Sarah Sands from the Evening


Standard and the broadcaster James O'Brien. First the news, with


Good afternoon. There are reports that the violence in Syria has


reached the capital Damascus, with a building believed to belong to


the ruling Baath party hit by rocket-propelled grenades. It's the


first insurgent attack on the city since the start of the uprising.


Meanwhile, the country's President Bashar al-Assad has told the Sunday


Times he will not bow to international pressure.


The opposition movement to topple the Syrian regime continues


unabated. As does the violent crackdown by the security forces.


These protesters on Friday faced a withering barrage of fire.


Thousands have been killed this year. But the Syrian President says


the military operation will continue. We are not porkier about


peaceful demonstrations, we are talking about militants. Whenever


you have militants, you have killing. The role of the government


is to fight both militants in order to restore stability and to protect


civilians. This amateur video apparently shows a military vehicle


hit by a rocket. Evidence the opposition is turning to guerrilla


warfare. So will the president step down before there is full civil


war? It is not about the president now, it is about the stability and


unity of Syria. How can we keep Syria unified if the president is


unifying the country? And now, deadlines set by other Arab leaders


for an end to the violence in Syria have expired, with no sign that the


president will comply. Bloodshed is set to continue.


The violence in the Egyptian capital Cairo, which has claimed


two lives, has continued overnight. Police used tear-gas and rubber


bullets this morning to try and disperse thousands of protesters


who remain in Tahrir Square. Egypt is due to hold its first elections


since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on November 28th.


Voting has got under way in Spain this morning, with the country's


centre-right opposition, the Popular Party, expected to oust the


ruling Socialist government. Many voters accuse the Government of


failing to prevent the economic slump and debt crisis that is


engulfing Spain, where almost 5 million people are out of work.


The Royal College of Nursing claims almost 50,000 jobs will go in the


NHS in England by 2015. It claims a number of frontline posts will be


affected. But the government has accused the RCM of scaremongering,


same efficiency savings can be made at the same time as improving


patient care. The NHS in England is under


enormous pressure. Managers have to find �20 billion worth of


efficiency savings in the next four years. The money is meant to go


back into frontline services, but the RCN believes patient care is


being affected. It has been tracking job cuts since April 2010.


Since then, it has heard of nearly 50,000 posts that are under threat


or have been closed out of a total of 1.4 million. That is 30,000 more


than a year ago. It believes that many are clinical staff. We cannot


believe that hospitals can strip out, as in some cases, as much as


nearly 25% of their workforce, and carry on as they have in the past.


We believe this is extremely worrying. The Government says the


NHS should be able to make efficiency savings and improved


patient care at the same time. It accuses the Union of scaremongering


over the size of the job losses. That seems fanciful to me. We have


already taken out a number of managerial jobs, which doubled


under Labour. We have cut those numbers, and the number of doctors


employed has increased since the coalition was formed. We want to


take money out of the back end and put it into the frontline. Some


hospitals involved also dispute the figures, but the RCN says there is


evidence of more jobs coming under threat.


That's it. There is more news here on BBC One at 6 o'clock. Until then,


enjoy your afternoon. It doesn't seem a very long time


ago since the Church of England was described as the Conservative Party


at prayer? Today, 18 Anglican bishops have written to the


Observer to complain about the "profoundly unjust" government


plans to impose a �500 a week benefit cap on families. They say


they will try to make changes to the Welfare Reform Bill when it is


debated in the House of Lords next week. Sarah, I guess it is familiar


territory for the Government to find itself under attack from the


Church? It is, with the added energy they have now since the St


Paul's protest, they have realised that they can be at the centre of


events. They have started to ask themselves, what would Jesus say,


or what would Tom Hollander say? They think they are part of the


debate. I do not think it is a bad thing. They say it is their job to


give a voice to people who do not have one. In this case, it is the


children, which is fair enough. I think they are wrong. It is a


difficult place for them to be, to say that people should be getting a


limitless amounts of welfare payments? Yes. As Sarah says, until


you can children. A �500 ceiling regardless of whether you have five


or 15 children does inevitably target the progeny. It does not


matter how successful the Rettig brick has been in painting every


unemployed person in the country as somehow having made a choice to


live a life of indolence, their children haven't, and you would be


punishing them by taking away what previous governments have decided


they need to live on. You make a point about the relevance of the St


Paul's protest, as if only now has the Church put up the courage to


say we ought to be taking a moral lead. Exactly. Having been rather


bemused and anxious about what was going on, they now see it as a


great opportunity. But the government has to stand firm. If


you have a moral debate as well as an economic debate, that is good.


The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has this morning weighed in to the


debate about how best to solve the euro-zone crisis. He says he is


against the Prime Minister's "big bazooka" solution - decisive


intervention from the European Central Bank - and against closer


political ties between members of the single currency. The


disagreement highlights the acute political sensitivity of dealing


with this crisis. So what is the best way to battle


for Britain's interests in a Europe plagued by economic ills? On Monday,


David Cameron was telling the City that the euro crisis represented an


opportunity to get stuck in and champion reform of the EU, and that


Britain's membership allowed it to fight for free trade. And the PM


has been travelling a lot this week to Brussels and then Berlin,


jousting with Herman van Rompuy and Angela Merkel. So who is the better


Euro-sceptic, the pugnacious David Cameron, who wants to lead his


crusade across the Channel, or those in UKIP and some


Conservatives who want to withdraw from the EU and lower the


portcullis, arguing that that is the best way to avoid the Teutonic


domination that Nigel Farage fears? The Euro-sceptic Chancellor George


Osborne has even argued for more political integration, but only for


the euro-zone, to avoid financial ruin in the future, while at the


same time resisting Franco-German demands for a levy on financial


transactions which the British say would hurt their moneylenders in


the City of London. So where is the patriotic cause - fight or flight?


Sally forth or pull up the drawbridge?


We are joined now by the EU Gidley de Nigel Farage. We know where you


stand - you would like to pull up the drawbridge. No. You are


implying that by leaving political union, we are somehow isolating


ourselves from Europe and the rest of the world. But is not what we


are saying. We are saying, let's amicably divorce ourselves from


political union and replace that with a genuine free trade agreement


not just with Europe, but the rest of the world as well. But isn't the


real Euro-sceptic thing to do, which is what David Cameron and


George Osborne are saying, is to say, we are fighting for Britain's


interests within Europe and trying to get the best deal, and that is


how we doing? They have been urging the Eurozone to go faster and


deeper into a political union. I have warned that if they do that,


it will lead to the destruction of democracy across Europe. In the


last few days, we have seen two democratic governments failed by


the bureaucrats and their Mackie's put in place. The Cameron policy is


urging more and more Europe. have often cited Norway as the


example Britain should follow. The Prime Minister there has described


his democracy as a fax democracy, where they are white -- wait for a


fax from Brussels to tell them what rules they have to apply. Norway is


one potential model. Norway is not in the EU. She pays a tiny amount


of money to be a member of the European economic Area. She has her


own fisheries, controls her own European rules on that portion of


their trade that is with Europe. But Norway is obliged to accept all


European legislation, and yet has no say in what that legislation is.


If we sell goods to America, we have to conform with their


standards. Being like Norway would guarantee us free trade and give us


a chance to negotiate the kind of deal that Switzerland has, where


they do not have to have any of the rules. Let's talk about the


transaction tax that would affect the City. That would have serious


consequences if Britain were outside the European Union, because


any transactions denominated in euros would still face that tax.


heard all this ten years ago. that wrong or right? We were told


that if we did not join the euro, London and the City would collapse.


Actually, the amount of business we do has grown bigger. If we have the


financial transaction tax imposed on the City of London, we will lose


our biggest single industry. But if Britain were outside the European


Union and Europe goes ahead with the transaction tax, that will hit


the City of London very hard. the City of London would then


become like an offshore island, and everybody would come to London.


That is how business works. Business goes where it is efficient


to do business. But if you talk to people in the City, they say the


opposite. I spent 20 years working there and I know quite a few of


them myself. But they say if Britain does not fight its corner


by being part of the EU, and the transaction tax get impose,


anything denominated in euros would be subject to VAT tax and the banks


would go elsewhere. You are suggesting that the Eurozone will


turn in on itself. Whatever they do, they will not be able to stop


products denominated in euros, dollars or sterling being traded in


the City of London. We are a flexible financial community. We do


not want Brussels closing it down. You have said you do not want to


live in a German-dominated Europe, which is what we have now.


certainly is, because there is a vacuum of leadership in Brussels.


They have power, but no authority, because no one is elected. Angela


Merkel is now in charge. That is bad for Europe. The European Union


was supposed to hold Germany's power in. Do you think Germany


would have less power if Britain were to withdraw from the EU?


Adding Germany is in a totally dominant position within the


Eurozone, and the only way to get democracy back is for countries


like Greece and Italy to leave the euro. You are inflaming prejudice


by talking about Germany rather than the Europe. In Greece and


Italy, democracy has been stripped out of those countries. That is


something that ought to worry us. With the Germans in charge, no one


should be in that dominant position. You have a tension between an


emotional argument, because to care about the nationality of who is


providing economic leadership is emotional rather than intellectual.


The intellectual argument is, who is best suited to deliver economic


benefits to this part of Europe? You would have a tough job


convincing me that any of the current crop of politicians at


Westminster are better suited to economic management and Angela


Merkel and her team. To take an implement, they have greater two


jobs in Germany for every job lost here. It might be a generational


thing. I do not mean to sound insulting, but I don't particularly


care about the nationality or the geographical origin of sound


economic leadership. I do not think it is sound economic leadership.


is better than ours. Those Mediterranean countries need to


leave the Eurozone. It does not matter how much money Germany


throws at it. The whole thing is failing. But would you accept that


that is an emotional argument, that you do not want to live in a


German-dominated Europe? It sounds like there is a bit of racism there.


I am married to a German. I would not take a strong anti-German line.


But it is a strong anti-German line. We have had to Pi German ministers


been abusive about our status, telling us the pound is dead and we


must join the euro. The time has come to say to German politicians


and EU politicians, we have had It is to Tonic pragmatism. It is


not an insult. -- Teutonic. I take it as an insult. I think we are


going to draw stumps on that particular issue. Thank you very


much, Nigel Farage. The crisis in the eurozone was cited this week as


one of the major factors behind sluggish economic growth at home,


and the Bank of England has downgraded its prediction for


growth in 2012 to just 1%. Later this month, the Chancellor will


unveil his Autumn Statement. All eyes around him to deliver


something that will give a big bazooka to the ailing economy.


Joining me is the Government's Growth Tsar Lord Heseltine. Can I


get your view very quickly on this idea that we are now living in a


German-dominated Europe? One of the great arguments for this country


joining the European adventure was to balance Europe, to create a


Europe where war, which was the characteristic of 1,000 years, was


made extraordinarily unlikely, so France, Germany and Britain would


have provided a huge stability. We turned the offer down, although


later, of course, we did join, and it has proved, in terms of the


broad historic sweep of what has happened over the last 50 years, a


remarkably successful venture. Chancellor Kohl once said to be in


a private conversation that he represented the last generation of


Germans that felt the impact of the Second World War, and there would


come another generation who said, we don't need this feeling of guilt,


why don't we just shed this into European responsibility and go it


alone? And he said that to him, that would be a tragedy and to the


generation of Germans he represented it would be a tragedy.


I share that view. Sorry to interrupt you, but you think we


ought to be part of the euro as well? Still? No, I think we will


join the euro. I think the chances are, and it's a balance, the


chances are the euro will survive, because the determination,


particularly of the French and the Germans is to maintain a coherence


that they have created in Europe. They have got a hell of a problem,


let's be frank about that, but my guess is they will find a way


through. I hope they will, because the downside for the British


economy of the euro going under is catastrophic, and people have no


idea of the scale of money that the British banks are owed by European


banks. Sorry to interrupt... If the European banks start going, it will


be our banks that are run the line, our government on the line. -- on


their line. I don't think that is going to worry on that programme.


We are here to talk about growth. Youth unemployment hit one million


this week, the Government is in vague -- engaged in battles with


the unions. Does it feel like 1986 all over again? No, I think this is


seen as a world crisis of a very major concern, and I think that the


Government is pursuing the only sane policy is in macro-economic


terms. They inherited an impossible position from the last Labour


government and they have to retain confidence. If that goes and


interest rates start rising, the effect on confidence in this


country and investment would be very serious, so I am totally


supportive of what the Chancellor is saying. We although he is


looking for ideas in order to get whatever he can, in terms of


momentum into the economy -- we all know. I did put forward some


suggestions he would like to consider. Very briefly, give us a


flavour of what needs to be done to bring it growth back. That is the


glory of these programmes, very briefly! As though you can deal


with these matters like that. One thing I did say is that I think


within Whitehall, there are a stack of decisions that are just being


thought about, consulted, talked about, analysed and I think


ministers should say, I want to know every decision that has been


in this department and hasn't been taken for three months, so we can


accelerated. Secondly, I think that the Government should look at the


available cash it has got available already in the reduced levels of


expenditure and try to use more of that in a competitive environment,


in order to get gearing from the private sector. Thirdly, and it has


hardly ever been done, but I think the Government could look for 10


big planning decisions, which preferably they would discuss with


the leader of the opposition, so they got relatively non-


controversial ones, and if they could find 10 such examples, then I


think they could ask parliament to give planning permission in a


matter of months. It can be done, the legislation exists, and he


would have to be careful, but they are looking for a stimulus to the


economy and I think the urgency of the situation, the job situation,


which is very worrying, demands the politicians looking at innovated


needs of stimulating growth. Then people setting it out so eloquently


of what the choices are -- thank you. You gave a speech to the


Manchester Business Growth this week and said perhaps you need to


recognise that the enemy is within the fortress. Who is the enemy


Within? That is the point I am making. Quite understandably,


everybody is focused on the world situation and the eurozone


specifically. It can give people the impression that there is


nothing we can do. I want to know who the enemy Within is. Yes, I


know, you are trying to get ahead and I am trying to explain. I was


using the wartime example of Churchill, please prevent to meet


this day on a single heart sheet of paper this answer to the question -


- present. I gave answers to the question that David Cameron could


ask of that sort and three I have indicated to you. What I was really


talking about was feet in their share in the system, and if people


could see the emergency required -- the inertia, if the officials in


Whitehall could, and really try and remember what it is like to be


faced with a wartime situation, when everybody comes together and


the whole nation throws itself into trying to find solutions, it is


that sort of urgency that is needed in order to get whatever we can out


of existing levels of expenditure and out of existing procedures and


legislative arrangements. Do you think there is also a political


impasse? We had proposals about liberalising employment laws, so it


is easier to hire and fire. Those have been blocked by the Liberal


Democrat partners in the coalition. Isn't that the sort of measure that


you need? So that employers find it easier to hire and fire people,


that would act as a stimulus to the economy? Well, I have been


responsible for one of these deregulation initiatives for many


years and I would be very frank been telling you I didn't think we


achieved much. I must also tell you that many other people have been


responsible and haven't achieved much either. When you start looking


at the details of regulations, you realise that there are a huge range


of regulations which are positively banal, for example, the compulsory


use of skid lids on motorbikes was socially desirable. Modern society


uses regulations to protect standards that are regarded as


politically acceptable and desirable. At the other end of the


scale, there is gold plating, there is a over-bureaucratic enthusiasm,


and what I did when I was Secretary of State was to say to a huge range


of people, including professional bodies and trade associations, you


come before work with the regulation that exists and show me


a different craft that achieved what you want, and nobody ever put


it up -- draft. It would be worth another go. When you start talking


about enabling people to sack people, I have two observations.


The first is this, the company is that I understand do not sit there


saying, we must be able to get rid of people so we mustn't invest


because the risks are too high. If you are an enterprising business,


you invest because you think it will be a success. You may have to


readjust, but you can do that, as is happening throughout industry,


as significant numbers are being laid off. But you want to be


careful in political terms that you don't get the reputation that all


you are trying to do is to make life rougher and tougher for large


numbers of people who, in the end, you want to vote for you. Let us


return to Europe, one of the areas where growth will be deeply


affected his with what happens in the euro-zone. In terms of the


negotiations conducted by David Cameron, does he remind you more of


John Major or Margaret Thatcher in Europe? He reminds me of David


Cameron, I don't think that is surprising. It is silly to think


that one Prime Minister is the mirror image of another, they are


all very different. How do you think negotiations are going? It is


a difficult time... Let me show you that the lunacy of your question,


if I may say so, Margaret Thatcher led this country into the single


European Act, which was the biggest sharing of sovereignty, economic,


in the history of this nation. John Major secured opt-outs in the


Maastricht Treaty for social policy, which midget -- Mrs Thatcher, as


she then was, did not secured in the Single European Act. Which of


the similarlys do you think is relevant to your question? Do you


think you have succeeded in not giving me a headline today?


ingenuity of the British media always impresses me, so I have


optimism but not certainty. Lord Heseltine, thank you very much


indeed for being with us. And for those who are not quite as street


as Lord Heseltine, skid lids are crash helmets. The rare encircling


the Home Secretary over the last fortnight about the state of the


UK's borders has shed a light on policing the frontiers, all the


more so in the age of mass migration. The Government has said


it is committed to a radical reduction in the number of net


migration into the country each year, but there is concern within


the coalition that the target will It's popular with the public who


think the country's too crowded. Less so with universities and


businesses who rely on them. The Government's made a simple pledge -


to bring down the number of immigrants by the end of this


Parliament. It means net migration to this country will be in the


order of tens of thousands a year, not hundreds of thousands. We will


reduce net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens


of thousands. They're talking about what's called "net migration". For


2010, you work it out like this: 300,000 people came from the EU.


Then you add the 275,000 people who came from the rest of the world and


subtract the 336,000 people who moved away from the UK. Which gives


you net migration of 239,000. That's what the Government is


pledging to cut to tens of Here at Oxford University, they're


studying that target and predict it will be missed. That's because the


Government has no influence over two major factors - the number of


British people leaving the UK and the free movement of people around


the EU. Plus, the policies announced so far won't make a big


enough dent in the rest. On work, workers from outside Europe, we


have a cap on skilled immigrants, we've had an increase in the


minimum skills threshold required. On students, we have had changes in


the right to work and we have obviously had more enforcement on


especially language schools and further education colleges. On


family, we have heard recent proposals to introduce a higher


threshold for the amount of money needed to show that a family


dependent is not a burden on the state. Now all these policies are


going to make a dent on net migration, but if you look at the


actual reductions required, the changes will not go far enough.


Back at Westminster, that worries many Tory MPs - like Stewart


Jackson, who resigned from the Government a few weeks ago over


Europe. Now he's concerned about It is a clear target, immigration.


It is the bond of trust we had with an hour electors. The Conservative


Party were significantly ahead and terms of people's faith in us to do


something about immigration. It was a positive issue we campaigned on


at the general election, and not to deliver on that pledge by 2015


would be a serious issue. So Theresa May is aware of that and


the Prime Minister is aware of that. We need to get cracking and look at


immigration as it affects all public expenditure and policy


decisions. Do you think they might scrap that target? I hope not,


because it would send a very poor message to the voters that the


British government has given up. MPs get a chance to express those


concerns in the near future, and e- petition on the topic of


immigration recently crossed the threshold of 100,000 signatures,


which means it is eligible for a debate in the Commons. That will


probably happen early in the new year. It was inspired by a recent


prediction from the Office for National Statistics, which suggests


that the population in the UK will grow from 62 million now to 70


million by the year 2027, mostly due to immigrants and their


children. It has been championed by Labour's Frank Field, who wants the


Government to take action that is more radical than just a cap on


numbers. One has inherited a situation where if you come here to


work, after four years, practically everybody automatically gets


citizenship. That link has to be broken and a clear barrier


established between working and citizenship. If they do that, they


then start to push into the long term. Britain will cross that 70


million barrier. That is something the Home Office is looking at, but


it will not necessarily have any effect before the end of this


Parliament. So it does not help the Government meet that all-important


promise. It leaves them with two options - come up with new ways to


limit immigration, or ditch the target.


We asked the Home Office for an interview with a minister. No one


was available. But they did give us a statement reaffirming their


commitment to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands. They also


said, we have put a limit in place on the number of non-EU economic


migrants come into the UK to work. We have also reformed the student


route and will shortly be announcing changes to the family


and sudden and ribs. Joining me now is the Conservative MP Mark


Reckless and Labour MP Alan Michael, both of whom sit on the Home


Affairs Select Committee. Is that target going to be hit? I think we


can still hit it. It will be more of a challenge than we initially


thought, because Net migration under Labour was even higher than


previously admitted. But we have made significant changes in a


couple of areas. Under Labour, there was a category they said was


so highly skilled, they did not even need a job offer. Do you think


this target will be hit a? I think there is a chance it might be. We


are at 230,000 in the latest year available. I accept that it is a


challenge to get down to the tens of thousands, but I believe it


still can be hit. But we need stronger measures. There are two


areas where the Home Office has made proposals, but then they were


watered down. Michael, do you think -- Alun Michael, will they hit the


target? I do not think so. This promise was made in advance of the


election without having worked out exactly what the figures were and


what the targets should be. Were they are wrong to aim for it?


terms of the way they have designed it, they have made some big


mistakes. For instance, I was at an event on Wednesday, Silicon Valley


comes to Westminster, where there was great shaking of heads about


the lack of flexibility for high- growth companies that we want to


see in this country finding it difficult to bring in the people


they want. In education, overseas students are worth �40 billion to


the economy at a time when universities are having their


finances cut. It is disastrous to have that being reduced. The model


should be Labour's approach to immigration when it was in power?


Our approach was starting to work. It was a points base system to


drive down numbers. Let's remind ourselves for those who don't


remember. Before Labour came to power, net migration was in the


tens of thousands. It then rose to 2 million during the Labour period.


We have seen a considerable amount of people come to this country and


contribute to the economy. But we need something that prevents people


that we do not want coming to the country coming in, which is tough


but fair. The problem is, and the committee has highlighted this on a


number of occasions, the borders agency, which has the


responsibility for protecting our borders, has been chaotic. So we


need a system that is tough, but fair. At the moment, we have a


system that is ineffective. We did not have a system that was tough,


but fair under Labour. They had a category which said people had such


high skills, they did not need a job offer. Many were coming in


under that category. We have closed that, and it will reduce


immigration. We have also taken students coming in at sub-degree


level, many of whom were coming in primarily to work or in the hope of


staying on afterwards rather than necessarily for the education.


There was not a net benefit to the economy. We could not allow that to


continue. There are two areas where we need to take further action.


While -- one is in terms of the inter-company transfers. But at


specialist level, that is fine. But we have allowed a loophole where


Indian IT companies are allowed to bring in people on temporary


contracts with an income just above �24,000. We need to close that. We


also need to tighten further the post study were proposal. It is


good that we have cut down on people at sub-degree level staying


on the web, but we cannot allow any person with a degree to stay on


automatically. If we tighten that, we can hit the numbers. Would you


support those? Martis describing things that sound fine academic


year, but he knows that we had in front of the select committee the


concerns of universities and the concerns of Indian companies that


are creating jobs in the UK that the lack of flexibility and the way


in which the Government was going to have to drive down numbers by


stopping people we need coming to the country as well as dealing with


the targets, this is the problem. It is indiscriminate, because the


numbers the Conservatives said they were going to reach are


unachievable without doing damage to the economy. The trouble is with


immigration that it is both good and bad. You talk about students.


We know the universities are getting their money from that. We


also know there are UK students who are resentful if they see someone


else paying to get a place when university admissions are in such a


shortage. It is the same with jobs. I live in London and it has been a


fantastic benefit, immigration. But we know classrooms are full and


there has been bad planning. There are a lot of UK-based people


without jobs. Let's take that point. If you drive down the numbers of


students that are coming in, that will be damaging to universities


that have �40 billion coming in to the general economy and make a


serious contribution to our universities at a time when their


finances are being reduced. That will drive up pressure for


increased contributions from UK students. The big mistake the


Government is making is that if they had listened to the Home


Affairs Select Committee, we said to them, don't count students.


Until a student applies the settlement, they are not migrants.


The central problem is the detail. Tweaking mechanics does not play to


the galleries. Mark is being disingenuous in setting the seeds


for a Conservative plan to say, we tried hard, but we missed the


target. Absolutely not. There are vested interests who want more


immigration, like Indian IT companies and universities. In two


areas, we have gone too far in allowing loopholes. They may need


to be closed if we are going to hit this number. But we can hit this


number. There is a bond of trust with the British electorate. We


made this promise and it is important to restore trust in


British politics. Thank you very much for being with


us on The Politics Show. A will be back in a few minutes.


First, The Politics Show where you are.


Welcome to the London part of the Politics Show, where coming up, we


will be asking if it is necessary or practical to give police powers


to reduce -- remove so-called Gang videos from the internet.


First, we recently reported on an independent review which found


problems with the way Hammersmith and Fulham council was using


consultants. It identified the absence of a central register for


consultants and the need for more transparency in record-keeping. It


is unlikely that this authority is alone. We looked at councils across


London, or where we could get information to see how much use was


being made of consultants and what they are doing.


Earlier this year, Hammersmith and Fulham council became concerned


about the way they were using consultants. To find out what was


going on, they decided to call in... A firm of consultants. They wrote a


report, which found serious weaknesses. The local authority had


no monitoring of how they were doing, no written agreements with


many and no idea how many consultants they were using. The


Politics Show has found out that this is a picture repeated across


London. We asked every local authority how many consultants they


were using and how much it cost. Only 17 out of 33 were able to give


us an answer. Of those who were able to tell us, the average spend


was around �2 million. Top of the list was Camden, with a spend of


over �11 million in the last financial year, worth roughly �1 in


every �25 that the council spends. In all, they were using 700


companies and individuals. The Other big spenders include Barnet,


with �9 million and Newham, with �7 million. But it seems that once


they get through the door, consultants often stay quite a long


time. At the City of London Corporation, there are five people


who could be described as consultants, who have been working


there for five years. At Lewisham, one consultant has been at the


Council for a decade. You should bring in a specialist to do a


specific task. And when it is finished, they go. That just


indicates that we should not allow ourselves to be slack about the way


that we will monitor this. You have to be rigorous about it. If you are


having to pare back your budgets, as we all are, my objective is to


make sure the money goes on frontline services. Consultants can


offer good value for money and even save a local authority cash, but at


a time of cuts and austerity, counsels may find themselves under


greater pressure to justify getting them in.


Joining me here are a Camden Liberal Democrat councillor Tom


Simon and Simon Parker from the think tank the new Local Government


Network. Our councils using too many consultants and are they using


them for the wrong things? It is hard to say, because you have this


very big number, �32 million. But as Camden council pointed out, that


counts a lot of things, from people doing home care right the way up to


PricewaterhouseCoopers. As Bob Neal pointed out, we do not know if this


is delivering value for money. You would hope that if people are going


to use consultants, they are making more savings than they are spending.


Is there any evidence that local authorities are using more


consultants even when they are having to pare back their spending?


I have not seen any evidence of that, but it would not be


surprising. Councils are facing very big cuts. Some councils in


London are probably taking 10% or 15% this year. Counter-intuitively,


they might not have all of the capacity in house to do that, so


there could be a case for bringing in some outside expertise. But you


want to see a focus on value for money and we want councils to say


yes, we spent money on a consultant, but it's does this amount. You are


in opposition in Camden. Camden point out that other boroughs may


not be providing as much information as them, but do you


think �11 million is too much to be spending on consultants? It is


worrying. We are facing serious cuts to frontline services, from a


place services to youth, old people's services and other areas,


and the Labour administration keep insisting that they are being as


efficient as they can. Now there's this �11.6 million, with a big


question mark over it. We know from previous experience that there have


been consultants which the administration have used who have


not been good value for money. There was one earlier this year to


carry out a library consultation to tell the council what the people of


Camden thought about their libraries. Unsurprisingly, the


result of that �25,000 exercise was that the people of Camden like


their library is very much. They could have brought in someone


independent to guide them on what their next move was. You could


argue that that was a sensible use of money, to find out how much


people valued something, how much money in the future they should put


I don't think so in this case. It was one of those exercises where we


knew the answers already and the methodology and the implementation


of the... The local-authority wouldn't have a team to try and do


that extensive kind of work. If you are going to be a more grown-up


business authority in these times, you have to take action like this.


A you have to take action on the Libraries but I don't think this


consultation was right, it was a waste of money and it didn't tell


us anything we didn't already know, and that is the key thing. You


don't want to be wasting money. invited somebody from the ruling


group in Camden to take part but they couldn't today. On the general


principle, do you think consultancies are getting a bad


name? The they absolutely are, and that is partly because you have


people coming into central government, you have Francis Maude


saying central government is spending too much money and maybe


he has a point. I think the public sector has spent a lot on


consultants, it has brought out a lot of outside expertise, and I


think there has been poor value for money. We have got to Batten down


the hatches, get strong value for money from these guys and I think


the point about transparency is important. Councils need to have


justified the spending they are making. Camden look as if they


might be one of the authorities that can tell us how much they are


spending and on what, but as we have seen, authorities generally


don't have a central register and couldn't tell you that. I'm glad


Camden has some information at least and I will certainly be


trying to find out more about the 700 recipients of this very large


sum of money. Both of you, thank you very much.


Gang videos on the internet often depict and some would say


glamorised violence, so should the police have the powers to root


remove them? One London MP thinks so and others don't agree,


objecting on the grounds of censorship and simple practicality.


Videos such as these are easy to find on the internet. At the


extreme end of the spectrum, they depict images of actual violence,


the brandishing of weapons and are ripe with references to drug


dealing and GAN warfare. -- gang. boy aged just 12 was part of a


gang... Suspected of a murder of a teenage boy... Disturbing scenes


like these are all too common on London's news bulletins, but is


there any proven connection between the gang videos posted causing gang


related crime? According to the MP for Lewisham East, the answer is


yes. She has called for a change in the law, which would effectively


bolster the currently self- regulated system of monitoring


unregulated material on the Now the MP for Lewisham East once


police to be able to take dead in appropriate videos from the


internet -- once police to be able to take them. But would this be


seen as sensible action or heavy- handed censorship? We asked a group


of young men and women from a foundation that works with young


people who are in danger of being excluded or have been excluded from


school to look at some gang videos BNP in Lewisham is trying to get


the police involved and get this sort of thing taken down -- the MP.


There she understand that this year on the right track? -- But she


understand it and the sheep. If you try and take it off YouTube and


they will do it in another way, probably in a worse way. You can't


brainwash people. It's not going to work, put it that way. So she


doesn't understand the issues? thinks music is making children do


this but it isn't. It is just a song that is made by them. She says


it glorified gangs. And that it promotes serious gang violence.


does, but it is not affecting us, it is affecting them. That is what


they want to do. She also says that the videos are a recruitment


mechanism for getting the kids into gangs. Is that fair comment? She is


just going to make the gangs hate the police more.


Take them all off and sensible whole lot, I think it is disgusting.


And you young people don't seem to get it -- censor. I don't like to


see young men looking like that, they look stupid. They are cowards.


Why are you covering your face, if you are so began the bad, take it


up and show people who you are. That big and bad. Get a job, if you


can't get a job, create one. Don't destroy the community, I am not for


it. I am with the MP, take it off. Heidi Alexander's bill should be


tabled early next year. Whilst MPs may be persuaded, some young people


in London may well be less convinced.


Heidi Alexander, Labour MP for Lewisham East, is with me and Peter


Barron, the director of external relations for Google, which owns


YouTube, and a representative of the boyhood to manhood of


representation. The first thing we need to get clear is the kind of


videos you are objecting to most other factual one, depicting


violence, or are they the range of videos that include rap videos and


so on? Why do I have come across are over the last year it is a


whole load up videos on the internet, filmed at the heart of


our town centres, housing estate, a group of young men, standing around


often wrapping, sometimes carrying weapons, singing about knives,


stabbing, gangs and I think it is unacceptable. They are sometimes


carrying weapons? We couldn't find any instances where people are


wielding weapons, but you have had been drawn to your attention?


have. Have they been removed already. --? One of the videos


weather was at night was removed after eight or nine months. There


were a number of our people who had fled the it as unacceptable and it


was brought up to my attention by a constituent whose son had been


mugged at knifepoint in Catford. When I saw the video, there was a


group of young man and clearly one of them was carrying a knife. I


find it as inappropriate and others had done but it was still then nine


months later. Do you think there is a level of concern that justifies


the attention of your giving this? I think there is an even if young


people don't necessarily make the link in their mind that seeing this


video, they are going to carry a knife, it is all part of the


context. We know young people on the internet a huge amount and we


know that young people are carrying knives, often out of beer, and if


any human being watched this videos, and you would be terrified -- out


of fear. What you say about the responsibility of YouTube for


showing them? YouTube has a policy whereby if you fight it, it can be


taken down. That is a start. Bashful agate. The police should


have the power to go to the courts, and the courts are quite important,


it is not about a police state, to force internet providers to block


access to these videos. We heard a little bit about your current


policy here, but the MPs are saying it is not enough. It is not


efficient enough, what you are doing. We recognise that is is is a


problem that we are addressing it and we have Community guidelines


bad for bid videos that glamorise violence and that includes the


brandishing of weapons -- that the bid. We have teams working 24 hours


a day to review flap material, so if a member of public sees the


video they think breaks a guideline,... What kind of number


are we talking about? There are 48 hours up every minute around the


world. How big is your team? A we have teams around the world


reviewing thousands of hours. I can't tell you how many, but we


have teams right around the world operating 24 hours a day, and they


will review videos that have been flat within hours. The video that


Heidi talked about, that was reviewed and removed, and as you


say... She said it took nine months. Our policies are evolving, we have


recognised this is a particular problem in Britain and a couple of


years back, we changed our policy to deal with precisely this issue,


gang videos, which glamorise violence. He changed it two years


ago? What did you do two years ago? We have guidelines which deal with


of violent scenes, for example, or pornography, that sort of thing,


the brandishing of weapons, and it didn't fall outside the guidelines


at that time. We recognised it was a problem and we have tightened the


guidelines and we continue to monitor it. Heidi talks about


videos where there isn't a weapon brandished but it is very clear


that the specific purpose is to intimidate people, that is against


the guidelines. Do we need the police involved? I'm not sure we


need the police at this point, because we do have committed


guidelines which deal with this. We really encourage viewers to look at


these videos and if they see something they think break the


guidelines, alert us to it and we will review it. Do you think this


might take off, this proposal? abide by the law, and it is the law


of the land and if it says these fears should be removed, it is


something we would respect but to be clear, we are addressing this


problem and they enjoy in appropriate stuff is removed.


heard that Lady saying, get these videos of, what you think? It is


good to get the videos off, but my experiences tell me that the videos


are not the main cause of gang violence. The main cause of gang


violence are young boys being alienated, young boys don't have


space or support to become healthy young men. At the moment, when you


look on these videos, what you are seeing is jerk masculinity,


indicating to us that these young men, these young people need


support in developing Laskey alerted to express themselves.


it serious? Even when somebody is brandishing a weapon? It is just a


young boy is demonstrating and copying and imitating gangsterism.


So is this an over-reaction for -- from Heidi? Heidi is right to bring


it up, but the focus should be armed key areas, unlike supporting


young people -- should be on. Engaging in communities, supporting


more amenities within the community, but I think it is too much. Some


might say that is dealing with the really difficult business.


entirely agree with everything he has just said. Removing this sort


of video is not going to tackle the problem of gang culture, it is


about so many other things, but what I am concerned about his young


people reviewing these videos, tens or hundreds at times, and are


actually fight and and fearful as a result -- of times. We Megan people


can carry weapons out of fear. -- we know. With the number of knife


crime incidents going up but that that the year except that causal


link? -- do you accept that causal link? This is huge debate about


expression on line. There is no doubt these videos are disturbing


the, in some cases illegal and in many cases, against the Community


guidelines, and that is enough to have them taken down. Gang culture


developed long before YouTube and it is not the videos, it is society


itself being unable to support people to become healthier men.


This is why young men are joining gangs, because they are not being


taught how to become healthy men. Would you like YouTube to be doing


more than they are doing already? Given that you might not get the


powers for police to do more, would you like them to do more


themselves? Yes, and Google and I are going to meet with the minister


in the new year. Looking at their guidelines, looking at the number


of people allocated to reviewing this material, perhaps speeding up


how long it takes to get the videos removed. Going back to what has


been said, the gangs are not new but the internet is and the speed


with which material is propagated is new. Knife crime is going up


again, what will you do now? We are listing to Heidi and others and we


are learning and the policies will involve all the time. We recognise


there is a problem and we are determined to investigate. And what


about the system of alerting? works very well, and we would


encourage people to do that if they see something. It added takes one


alert to have it reviewed and benefit is against the guidelines,


it will be taken out. This is a subject we will undoubtedly return


to. Thank you very much to all three of you. Now it is back to


John. And that is set for this week,


thank you for being with us. But Daily Politics will be back


tomorrow at midday and I will be back next Sunday. In the meantime,


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